Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Missouri

Dental hygiene is a rapidly growing field in which trained, licensed specialists perform services such as teeth cleaning, dental x-rays and oral health examinations, among other job duties. Dental hygienists generally work daytime hours during the week in offices with other dental professionals or individually. To enter this field, students in Missouri should learn about the state’s requirements for becoming a licensed dental hygienist.

 

State Requirements

In order to become a dental hygienist in Missouri, you must obtain licensure through the Missouri Dental Board. The process includes education in an accredited program and the satisfactory passing of national, regional and state exams.

Training and Educational Programs

The first step to a career in dental hygiene is to enroll in a school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Popular dental hygiene schools in Missouri include:

  • Missouri Southern State University (MSSU). Students at this school can complete an Associate of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene with the completion of 90 credit hours over a two year-period. To apply to this program, prospective students must first complete prerequisite college courses including: Communications, English 101, Intermediate Algebra, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Microbiology with grades of “C” or higher. Once in the program, students must maintain at least a “C” average in dental hygiene classes in order to continue and complete study.
  • North Central Missouri College (NCMC). Students who wish to pursue this Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene program complete their first year of prerequisite classes at the NCMC campus in Trenton, Missouri. Then, if accepted into the dental hygiene program, students transfer to Hillyard Technical Center (HTC) in St. Joseph, Missouri, where they complete the core dental hygiene courses within 22 months. The dental hygiene degree will then be granted by NCMC to students who complete the program successfully.

You find information on dental assistant schools in Missouri here.

State Licensure

In order to become a licensed dental hygienist in Missouri, applicants must demonstrate to the Missouri Dental Board that they have completed the following steps:

  • Completed a CODA accredited training program
  • Earned certification in the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Provider training
  • Passed the National Board of Health Dental Hygiene Examination with a score of at least 80 percent
  • Passed one of the state-approved clinical regional exams administered by either the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA), Council of Interstate Testing Agencies, Inc. (CITA), Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA) or Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
  • Passed a written jurisprudence exam covering Missouri dental laws and rules, administered by the Missouri Dental Board, with a score of at least 80 percent.

After completing the above steps, a dental hygienist may be granted their license by Missouri and be titled Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).

Popular Programs

 

Career Outlook

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 3,120 dental hygienists were employed in the state of Missouri. That number is projected to grow an additional 14.3 percent by 2026, meaning that the field of dental hygiene is expanding rapidly in this state.

In 2017, Missouri dental hygienists earned a mean salary of $33.64 per hour or $69,980 annually. This is a strong income for a career that requires only a two-year associate’s degree.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL80$32.98$68,590
Columbia, MO120$37.08$77,130
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO220$34.18$71,090
Jefferson City, MO60$35.67$74,200
Joplin, MO130$32.45$67,500
Kansas City, MO-KS1,600$33.42$69,510
Springfield, MO290$35.05$72,910
St. Joseph, MO-KS50$36.19$75,280
St. Louis, MO-IL1,540$31.39$65,290

Working as a Dental Hygienist in Missouri

If you’re wondering where the best places are in Missouri to work as a dental hygienist, you might note that in 2017, St. Louis and Kansas City employed dental hygienists at the highest rates in the state. The higher-paid Missouri dental hygienists were found in Springfield, St. Joseph and Columbia that same year. With so many jobs opening and excellent career benefits available, the career path of dental hygiene is a great road to opportunity for those in Missouri who are looking for a rewarding job.

Dental Hygiene College Listings

St. Joseph, MO-KS

Hillyard Technical Center

3434 Faraon St, Saint Joseph, Missouri 64506-5102
(816) 671-4170
https://www.sjsd.k12.mo.us/Domain/2275

Hillyard Technical Center’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Saint Joseph, MO. This private, not-for-profit college has about 158 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is 88%. The dental hygiene program has annual tuition fees of $36,069 and material costs of $3,475. The average completion time for the program is 22 months.

Joplin, MO

Missouri Southern State University

3950 E. Newman Road, Joplin, Missouri 64801-1595
(417) 625-9300
https://www.mssu.edu/academics/health-sciences/dental-hygiene/degree-dental-hygiene-associate.php

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Joplin campus. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. This is a full, 4-year private college with 5,417 students, of which 99% are undergraduates. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $5,376 per year. Fees for out-of-state students are $10,225.

North Missouri nonmetropolitan area

North Central Missouri College

1301 Main St, Trenton, Missouri 64683
(660) 359-3948 x1418
https://www.ncmissouri.edu/academics/dental-hygiene/

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Trenton campus. This program of study is ADA accredited. This private, not-for-profit college has around 1,786 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Annual fees for in-district students are $2,820, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $3,810 and $4,980 respectively.

Springfield, MO

Ozarks Technical Community College

1001 E. Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, Missouri 65802
(417) 447-7500
https://academics.otc.edu/dental/dental-hygiene/

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Springfield campus. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. This private, not-for-profit college has approximately 15,123 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Annual tuition fees for in-district students are $2,664, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $3,576 and $4,560 respectively.

Sedalia, MO

State Fair Community College

3201 W 16th Street, Sedalia, Missouri 65301-2199
(660) 530-5800 x7217
https://www.sfccmo.edu/academics-programs/areas-of-study/dental-hygiene/

The Associate’s degree program is imparted at the college’s Sedalia campus. This program of study is accredited by the American Dental Association. This private, not-for-profit college has about 5,115 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Annual tuition fees for in-district students are $2,940, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $3,930 and $5,880 respectively.

Kansas City, MO-KS

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, Missouri 64110
(816) 235-1000
https://catalog.umkc.edu/colleges-schools/dentistry/division-of-dental-hygiene/ms-dental-hygiene-education/

The University of Missouri at Kansas City offers an ADA accredited Master’s program in Dental Hygiene Education. This program of study is ADA accredited. This is a full, 4-year private college with 15,990 students, of which 66% are undergraduates. Typical in-state tuition is approximately $9,456 per year, while out-of-state students will pay $22,203.

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, Missouri 64110
(816) 235-1000
https://catalog.umkc.edu/colleges-schools/dentistry/division-of-dental-hygiene/bachelor-of-science-dental-hygiene/

The University of Missouri at Kansas City offers a Bachelor program in Dental Hygiene. This program of study is accredited by the ADA. Of the 15,990 students, about 34% are postgraduates. Typical in-state tuition is approximately $9,456 per year. Fees for students from other states are $22,203.

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